ATHENS, Ga. — Yante Maten scored 20 points as the Georgia Bulldogs dropped an 80-60 contest to Alabama Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
Maten led the way for Georgia (12-8, 4-4 SEC) and Juwan Parker added 10. For Maten, it was his seventh 20-point game of the season and 19th of his career, while Parker has now scored in double-figures in seven of eight SEC games on the year. Braxton Key paced the Crimson Tide (12-7, 4-3) with 26 points.
“I didn’t do a good enough job getting our team ready to play,” said Georgia head coach Mark Fox, who was ejected after receiving two technical fouls near the end of the first half. “I was concerned about our spirit coming into the game because of the last game [against Texas A&M]. I don’t want to take anything away from Alabama. They were the aggressor, and they played well. We were a step behind all night.”
Despite eight points apiece from Maten and Parker in the game’s opening period, the Bulldogs trailed 41-27 at the break. The Georgia defense forced Alabama to turn it over eight times in the first half, but the Tide were able to shoot 16-of-30 (53.3-percent) in the half.
Alabama jumped out to 54-34 lead with 14:25 left in the second half. Georgia was then able to hold them to just two field goals until under a minute to go, but was unable to cut the lead to less than 10. Throughout the game, the Tide shot 23-of-34 (67.6-percent) from the line, with 18 of their final 21 points coming from the charity stripe.
“Let’s give Alabama credit for coming in here,” Fox said. “They are a good team. We didn’t play with physicality on the glass and it showed.”
On Saturday, the Bulldogs will take part in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, hosting the Texas Longhorns at 4:00 on ESPN.
• Trailing 13-6 in the early running, William “Turtle” Jackson II drained a 3-pointer to bring Georgia within four. It was his first trey since he connected from deep against Missouri on Jan. 7.
• Head coach Mark Fox was issued a double-technical foul and was ejected with the Bulldogs trailing 32-24 late in the first half.
• Alabama’s 53-percent shooting clip in the first half was the fourth-highest shooting percentage for a Georgia opponent in any half this season (Auburn, first half – 56.3%; Furman, second half – 53.8%; Oakland, second half – 53.6%). For the game, Alabama’s 51.1-percent mark for the game is the highest of any Georgia opponent this season.
• At one point trailing 59-39, Georgia cut the deficit in half at the six-minute mark as Juwan Parker hit a mid-range jumper, drawing Georgia to within a 62-52 gap.
• Parker has now reached double digits on the scoreboard in seven of eight SEC games and in nine of the last 12 games overall.
• J.J. Frazier finished with four points, snapping a streak of 12 consecutive games in double-digits.
• The loss puts Georgia on its first losing streak of the season. The Bulldogs are now 2-2 at home and 2-2 on the road in SEC play.
Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox
On tonight’s game…
“I didn’t do a good enough job getting our team ready to play. I was concerned about our spirit coming into the game because of the last game [against Texas A&M]. I don’t want to take anything away from Alabama, they were the aggressor and they played well. We were a step behind all night.”
“Let’s give Alabama credit for coming in here. They are a good team. We didn’t play with physicality on the glass and it showed.”
Georgia Junior Forward Yante Maten
On Mark Fox’s ejection…
“Coach Fox is a fighter for sure and that’s something we as a team need to embrace with regards to how we’re playing. We need to make sure that we’re determined from the jump.”
Georgia Senior Guard J.J. Frazier
“We just couldn’t keep them off the glass and they made their open threes.”
Alabama Head Coach Avery Johnson
“Terrific victory and effort by our guys. I thought we were sharp and confident from the start of this game, obviously in our situation we had a pretty disappointing game last game on the road. We got back up and practiced on Monday and Tuesday, and had a good workout this morning. We were fortunate to win this game. We know didn’t have room for much margin of error, we shot from the three good tonight, played pretty good overall team defense. When we hold teams to under 62 points, we think based on that, there is a chance for us to be able to win that game. Fortunately, J.J. Frazier didn’t have his best night, but [Yante] Maten is a handful.”